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6 Tips for Training your Aggressive Chihuahua

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6 Tips for Training your Aggressive Chihuahua

Our little chis are honestly one of the cutest dog breeds that melt your heart. Not that other breeds are any lesser, but Chihuahuas are an entirely different game.

Despite their tiny stature, they have large personalities. They are bold and stubborn and don’t consider themselves any less strong than large breed dogs.

In our house, Charlie (our 6-pound chi) is the one who tries to boss around Oscar (a full grown Labrador who is more than thrice his size.)

But it doesn’t mean that Chihuahuas are inherently aggressive; how they respond to situations and the habits they develop largely depends on how you train them.

There are times when we unconsciously encourage aggressive behaviors, particularly in small dogs because we treat them differently than our large breeds. However, if you have a pup who has aggression issues or want to prevent these unwanted behaviors in your chi, here are six useful techniques that will help you manage this trait:

The Don’ts of Dealing with Chi Aggression

So usually I begin with offering suggestions but with problems such as aggression, the mistakes you may make while acting out in frustration can worsen your chi’s behavior.

Of course, the responsibility of a new canine member in the house can be overwhelming and that coupled with a snapping and growling dog can be quite challenging since you weren’t expecting it- but remember that it is essential to keep your calm at this time.

Don’t make the mistake of lashing out or yelling on your pup or physically threatening the dog as that may lead the Chihuahua to think that you are fighting for the alpha position. Don’t lock your dog in a room as a punishment; instead use it as an opportunity to correct help him understand the right behaviors.

Socialize your Chihuahua

Many dog-parents may not be aware of the fact that fear is a primary cause of aggression in dogs. They act out when they meet new people or encounter new experiences that they aren’t accustomed to.

Therefore it is crucial to socialize your pup from a young age to help him get over the fear of the unknown. Make sure you take him out and walk him around the block, don’t just carry him yourself.

Instead let your little monster explore the world. Let your Chihuahua meet other dogs, people and ensure that all experiences are positive, so your pup becomes aware of the fact that new sounds and sights are meant to be fun.

Help Your Pup Realize who the Leader is

A common reason behind canine aggression is that Chihuahuas consider themselves the pack leaders and therefore don’t respect and obey your commands.

You might have seen your pup growling when you try to take away a toy or touch his food bowls. This is because they consider it upon themselves as the leader to guard and protect their belongings and gradually the habit may lead to the onset of other aggressive behaviors.

So what might be the solution to this problem? It is teaching your dog who the leader is and how do you claim your leadership? The best way is by using “food.”

As soon as your chi realizes that you are the one who makes the decision of giving out food, he will know who the leader is and will begin respecting your position. To train your dog, make it a habit only of giving out the delicious dog food  after you chi obeys the sit command and waits for his meal.

Build Rules

Dogs need structure in their lives, and for that, you need to set house rules. Don’t let your dog dominate as the habit may gradually turn into aggression. The key is to make a firm decision and stick to it.

You can decide these rules according to your preferences, when the food should be given, what furniture your chi is allowed on, what possessions belong to them, and when is playtime. Be firm and consistent with these rules without being harsh on your dog. Use positive reinforcement techniques to make your dog understand and respect the boundaries.

Training is Essential

Teaching your dog basic commands and cues is necessary. Although this may be difficult with aggressive dogs, which see themselves as the alpha, with consistent effort you will be able to succeed. Even if your chihuahua has already been through obedience training, a recall session each day will still be useful.

Commands such as sit, stay and come are beneficial as these will aid in stopping him from attacking or threatening any stranger. Training your canine to walk on a leash is also crucial as it will help establish you as the alpha and enable your chi to understand how to respond in acceptable ways.


Reward Positive Behavior

Whenever your chi obeys a command or stops growling and snapping over something that he previously used to, praise and reward him with treats. Whenever your dog begins to display aggression, you must command him to stop and when he obeys make it a point to reward your chihuahua with treats.

You may have to act firm when your Chihuahua doesn’t comply to the commands, you don’t have to be too hard on him but be sure to get the message through.



Jenny Perkins is an Animal Behavior Specialist and a passionate writer. She loves to write about the nutrition, health, and care of dogs. She aims at providing tips to dog owners that can help them become better pet parents. She writes for the blog Here Pup.

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Saturday 1st of August 2020

I have a 9 year old Chi that needs training from aggression. Unfortunately, he grew up in a home where the his training was not consistent. He is aggressive to new people and to passerby’s. Now that the person that would get on board with the training is gone, where do I begin or is it too late?


Tuesday 9th of June 2020

So we have four chihuahuas at home of ages 7/6/5/3 we've had them since they were month olds but never trained them so they're all pretty aggressive and in the past few years have stopped getting along at all so we have to keep them seperated, how should one go about training them in this late stage with all of them together, please help.


Tuesday 9th of June 2020

I think at this point, with 4 of them to deal with, you are going to need the help of a professional trainer.

Rev. Carolyn Francis

Saturday 30th of May 2020

Mikie is 3+ years old...

Rev. Carolyn Francis

Saturday 30th of May 2020

Well we have had Mikie 10 days now, His history is traumatic, I suspect abusive and he's been returned to a shelter from 2 adoptive homes because of his quirkiness. His trust has increased significantly of both myself and husband. He is more selective now about which people and other dogs. We have had 2 very traumatic visits to the vet, the latter one with pre-medication. Unfortunately during this Corona pandemic, dog parents are not permitted to come into the building with their pets, but hand them over to a technician at the door. He will only permit touch on his terms. Once confident/secure he enjoys petting, rubs, and lap massages. Mikie loves walk/runs and car rides. My heart breaks for his experience of trauma. Planning to try vet exam again next week with different pre-medication.


Saturday 30th of May 2020

Oh wow, that is rough. I know my dogs don't have issues but I hated having to hand them over at the vet's office a few weeks ago and not be able to go in with them. So I can imagine how hard it is for you with Mikie.

Mindi. h

Monday 20th of April 2020

We have a 6 month old chi and we rescued him at 10 weeks. He is very aggressive around us bed and food. He recently has gotten worse for no reason. He seems to be more attached to me but we got him for my 10 year old daughter. He has snapped at her more than once. For no reason at all, he is set off. Sometimes he’s just sitting there and she goes to pick him up and he attacks her. What can I do? My husband is threatening to return him because he is worried she will get bit in the face. Pleas help!


Saturday 11th of July 2020


My husband and i got a 7 month old chihuahua a week ago. My husband was home with her the first day and since then she’s barks and bites me or the kids or anyone that tries to come close to him. We need help. What is a good online program That i could purchase to help train her?


Monday 20th of April 2020

Yeah this is something you need to nip in the bud before it gets worse. He's freaking adorable! He needs a good training program and your daughter should be the main one to go through it with him. He needs to see her as the alpha. I know you can't go to a training program currently, but there are programs you can buy online.